Why did you decide to study abroad with The Traveling School in Southwest Africa?
Allegra: Initially I was skeptical of leaving all my friends and my hometown, but eventually the desire for something new and different won out. The Traveling School seemed like a good balance of school and an amazing adventure. The Traveling School enabled me to gain high school credit, while experiencing the culture of Southern Africa, what else could a girl hope for?!
What made this high school abroad experience unique and special?
Allegra: This isn't a typical study abroad program with a campus and dorms. Class could be on picnic tables in the campground or beneath the shade of a tree at the end of a hike. In addition, you live with your teachers and fellow classmates. You travel in a big blue truck, which becomes like your home, with 12-16 girls across Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. In what other program can you be studying Geology along the banks of the Orange River in the morning, and then have a lecture from a local guide about living through Apartheid in the evening? Or waking up in Kruger to study ecology and then having a language lesson with a native Africaans speaker?
What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering studying abroad in high school?
Allegra: While I think traveling abroad in high school is much more difficult than traveling abroad in college, you stand to gain so much more by traveling in high school. Being exposed to a different culture so early in your academic career changes how you view the world. Yes, leaving high school is scary and difficult. But trust me when I say that the experiences you gain will far surpass any amount of homesickness you will feel during the program.
How has this experience impacted your future? (Personally, professionally, etc)
Allegra: The Traveling School has impacted me in many ways. First, I become much more comfortable with the idea of traveling thanks to The Traveling School. Since my semester I have traveled by myself and with friends to many corners of the globe. Second, it helped me become impassioned about my studies. Before The Traveling School, I didn't really apply myself in school, but being in such a stimulating and challenging environment made me want to achieve better grades than before. And lastly, I found that I was much more independent and sure of myself after the semester. After I conquered backpacking trips, homesickness, and being challenged mentally for 3 1/2 months, how could I not be?